Neighborhood Intel

Oregon tale: Greenpointers owner and NYC expat Jen Galatioto on moving west

By Virginia K. Smith  | November 21, 2014 - 8:59AM

The owner of beloved local blog Greenpointers, Jen Galatioto has been synonymous with the North Brooklyn nabe since buying the website in 2011, even after her move to Ridgewood. So imagine our surprise earlier this month when she announced that she had moved all the way to Corvallis, Ore., and put the blog up for sale.

Galatioto spoke to us from her West Coast digs about the future of the site, home hunting out west, and selling her Ridgewood apartment from afar:

You moved after your husband, John, got a job as City Forrester. Were you considering leaving the city before that? 

If you look back to when we first talked, at the end of the interview, I say I should check out the Pacific Northwest. [Ed note: it's true!When John was thinking about taking the job, we took a week and stayed in Airbnbs to really feel what it would be like to live in a completely different place. 

We came out in August, when there aren't a lot of people around—Corvallis is a college town—and when we first drove into the town, I was like, "I don’t know if I can do this." You drive by a lot of strip malls before you get into the main town. But then we got to talking to the Airbnb people and taking little day trips. The food was unbelievable—better than the Union Square market on its best day. And then we found out there were hot springs nearby, and that was the icing on the cake.

How did you find your new apartment? Was the process different than in NYC?

We're renting an apartment right on the outskirts of town, near some wetlands. We were looking right when the market was busy with college students, and since we have three cats and a dog, we ran into a lot of landlords with no-pet policies who were not at all lenient about it. We started looking with a local agency for pet-friendly rentals. The landlord wouldn't let us move in without seeing the place first, so John's dad, who lives nearby, came by and took photos. 

I’ve never submitted so many forms in my life about things like the placement of the satellite dish, the cleaning of the carpets, etc. We're used to renting in New York, so we were really on top of it and overnighted our deposit check—they either thought we were serious or crazy. We ended up having it all settled before we went on our road trip, so we could move right in. ​

What kind of place is it?

We’re living in a townhouse two-bedroom with a garage, washer/dryer, huge kitchen, windows, skylight, for like $1,050 a month, and that's with the extra we pay to have pets.  Because it was actually made within the last 20 years, the apartment makes so much sense—there's a specific place for your garbage cans, there's a real pantry, all that. I remember in New York I used to have to store my cat food in the bathroom because there wasn't any place else to put it.

What was it like selling your Ridgewood apartment? 

It's actually in contract right now. ... At first, I was trying to sell it by myself, because I'm self-employed and had time to show it. I figured I have so many contacts and we're not asking that much, so it should be easy. But eventually, we brought in my brother, who's a broker, and we should have done it from the beginning. It really sucks to sell your own place! 

It’s totally worth hiring someone and paying them the commission. First of all, you don't always know answers to the specific questions buyers have, and if the deal ends up falling through, you take it really personally. And a broker is going to get more serious buyers coming by than just a friend of a friend who wants to see the place or is maybe thinking about buying. Also, I don't know if I've ever cleaned my house as many times as we did in that month when we were showing.

As for the blog, any takers so far?

It hasn't sold yet, but I'm very optimistic that I have a great buyer.

Will you ever come back to NYC?

Sometimes when I see photos on Instagram of Greenpoint or Ridgewood, I’m like, "oh, look at our old home." But honestly, I really don’t miss New York at all. My transition here was unbelievable. I thought I was going to be crying every night, and I do miss people, but I love my life here. It’s so much simpler and less stressful. Living in New York I’d never heard the term "livable" city, and that’s what people say here. And it really is—everything is very close by and easy to get to, you have everything you need, the people are really nice. ​

But I do think I’ll be back in New York a lot. We have our holiday market, and we’re pre-screening our neon sign documentary soon, so I'll be in town for that.

Any unexpected discoveries about your new city since the move?

I've picked up a new hobby: riding MULES!  I answered an activities post on Craiglist in the area looking for something to do and a retired man with two mules was looking for a partner to go mule riding. He had a run-in with a cougar or a bear and his mule got spooked and rolled him into a ditch. After that, his wife said he could not longer go mule riding alone. Which is where I come in! It's the last thing I ever imagined I would be doing and certainly an about-face from my life a month ago in NYC. We get to ride to beautiful mountain tops that aren't easily accessible for hikers. The mules are stubborn, as the old phrase promises, and sense my incompetence and spend a lot of time eating grass. Last mule ride I helped Jim chase his cows on his ranch because one of them needed medicine. I guess that technically qualified me as a cowgirl and is the most fun I have had in a very long time. Sure beats computer work!


The must-reads: 22 essential New York neighborhood blogs

Greenpointers: a real community bracing for its skyscrapers

Greenpoint blogger Jen Galatioto on the nabe's new eateries and most vexing transit problem (hint: it's not the G)

For sale: small but popular (web)site in Greenpoint!

Buying in Greenpoint: What available? And for how much?


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